Here at Twin Cities Mom Collective, we believe in celebrating the magic of outdoor fun through every season, yes, even winter. But let’s face it: sometimes you just can’t handle piling on the layers one more day. These days call for a new pace. It’s time to find some indoor fun.
Whether you need a break from the polar vortex, or maybe you’ve always been an indoorsy person at heart and you were just humoring the rest of us (thank you for that), this list of indoor places to explore is what you need to survive another month of winter (Or two months? Or THREE? Spring, come quickly.)
The good news is, every activity on this list is FREE! That way you can save up your money to take that tropical vacation next season to really help you through the grayest months of winter.
Minneapolis not only has some of the best art museums in the Midwest, but many of them also are free or offer special free visit days. I love to visit the art museum with my family because there is always something new and different to spot each time we visit. But it’s also a fantastic place to escape to all by yourself if you are feeling a little cooped up. Turn that quick trip to Target into a little mini cultural vacation.
Minnesota Institute of Art | 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 10 am-5 pm; Thur 10 am-9 pm
Weisman Art Museum | 333 E River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Hours: Wed 10am-8pm, Thur-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm
Walker Museum | 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Hours: Wed, Fri-Sun 11 am-5 pm; Thur 11 am-9 pm
Free every Thursday evening 5 pm-9 pm and the first Saturdays of the month.
Nature Centers are a great option if you might want a little fresh air but mostly want to hibernate where it’s warm. Many of our fantastic nature centers in the metro offer interactive exhibits inside their buildings. Take a quick walk and then head inside to warm up while you learn about what’s outside all from the comfort of the inside spaces.
Here are some of our favorites:
Woodlake Nature Center | 6710 Lake Shore Dr. S, Richfield, MN 55423
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30 am-5 pm, Sunday 12-5 pm
Springbrook Nature Center | 100 85th Ave NW, Fridley, MN
Hours: Nov-March 8am – 4:30pm, daily; April-Oct 9am – 5pm, daily
Tamarack Nature Center | 5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township, MN 55110
Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am-4 pm; Sun 12-4 pm
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge | 3815 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425-1659
Hours: Thur-Sun 10 am-4 pm
One of our greatest resources for endless stories is also one of the best choices for FREE indoor fun! Many local libraries have dedicated play spaces for kids. And they can even be loud! What a relief. Pick up a book for yourself and relax in a cozy chair while your child explores and plays with other children. Nod in solidarity to the other parents just trying to survive another winter day. We are in this together.
Some great local libraries to check out:
Highland Park Library | 1974 Ford Parkway, Saint Paul, MN 55116
Hours: Mon-Thur 10 am-8 pm, Fri-Sat 10 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1-5 pm
Thanks to a grant, the children’s space is new and updated with a reading garden, outdoor playground, and public art space.
Brooklyn Park Library | 8500 W. Broadway Ave., Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
Hours: Mon-Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sat 9 am-5 pm, Sun 12-5 pm
The wind tunnel maze built along the wall will blow your kids away, pun intended, in this bright and airy play space.
Galaxie Library | 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124
Hours: Mon–Thur 9 am–8 pm, Fri-Sat 9 am–5 pm, Sun 1–5 pm
The giant lite-bright wall and magnetic magna-tile wall are the highlights of this library’s children’s space. Check out the amphitheater for story time, too!